Drugs in Drinking Water

Prescription_pills_spillingPharmaceuticals (prescription, over-the-counter, and veterinary drugs) and personal care products (products such as cleansers, fragrances, and cosmetics used for personal reasons) in drinking water have been a subject of much concern recently. Studies have shown that a myriad of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, anabolic steroids, anti-anxiety medications, hormones, and anti-seizure medications have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans in 24 major metropolitan areas, from east coast to west coast. And while these numbers alone are alarming, they represent only a very small portion of the problem.

In addition to pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), studies have found that illicit drugs are also in our drinking water. Drugs detected include cocaine, MDMA (ecstasy), opioids, cannabinoids, and amphetamines, which have been found in sewage wastewaters, sewage sludge, surface waters, and drinking water. All of these drugs have potent pharmacological activities, and it is therefore generally believed that they have adverse effects on human health and the environment, including aquatic organisms.

How did they get there?

DrinkingWaterSupplyArea_bluesign1People take drugs, and their bodies absorb only a portion of what they ingest. The rest is excreted and flushed down the toilet, where it makes its way to wastewater treatment facilities. The wastewater undergoes a treatment process to remove nutrients and bacteria before it is discharged back into surface waters, including reservoirs, lakes, and streams, which in turn feed municipal water treatment plants for distribution. And there are no treatment processes specifically engineered to remove pharmaceuticals or drugs from wastewater. Even more alarming, many widely prescribed medications such as anti-epileptic medications, tranquilizers, and cholesterol fighters actually resist most existing treatment processes, save two. Reverse osmosis, a treatment technology which forces water through a membrane filter, successfully removes all pharmaceuticals, but is prohibitively expensive for large-scale use and wastes several gallons of polluted water for each one made drinkable. Activated charcoal, which filters organic matter and drugs from wastewater, is a better treatment option because it doesn’t waste water like reverse osmosis does. Unfortunately, it is still extremely expensive to install.

There is no way to determine the effects of drugs in drinking water because there is no regulation over the presence of most drugs, illicit or otherwise, in treated wastewater, surface water, or drinking water. Also, there are no studies that monitor the long-term effects of low-dose drugs on human health. However, given the very nature of pharmaceuticals — they are meant to be active in small doses — it is highly likely that their presence in our nation’s water supply is not without effect. “These are chemicals that are designed to have very specific effects at very low concentrations. That’s what pharmaceuticals do. So when they get out to the environment, it should not be a shock to people that they have effects,” noted zoologist John Sumpter of Brunel University in London.

The methadone problem

MethadoneThere is, however, one drug that is definitively known to be extremely problematic: methadone. Used in the treatment of our nation’s epidemic heroin problem as well as for chronic pain disorders, methadone is prescribed over four million times annually — and that number is rising. Approximately 28% of ingested methadone is not absorbed by the body but is instead excreted in urine, ending up in our wastewater. A common chemical used in water  treatment is chloramine (not to be confused with chlorine). In fact, nearly a quarter of the U.S. population drinks water treated with chloramine disinfectants. Methadone reacts with chloramine to form N-nitrosodimethylamine, or “NDMA” for short, which the World Health Organization has labeled “clearly carcinogenic” because of its ability to cause stomach, liver, and colon cancer after being ingested.

“NDMA is a very potent carcinogen,” commented environmental chemist Susan Richardson of the University of South Carolina. “It’s being commonly found in drinking water well above the health reference level for cancer, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently deciding whether to regulate it.”

Considering half of the drinking water samples obtained by an AP study were found to contain a level of NDMA that would be considered dangerous, it is no surprise that Massachusetts and California have already implemented regulations concerning NDMA, although they are the only two states in the nation to do so. In contrast, all of Canada has regulations in place fully banning NDMA. In the U.S., the decision might not be imminently forthcoming, as drugs in drinking water presents a unique challenge. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees drugs, while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees environmental issues, so collaboration — and agreement — between the two organizations is necessary.

In conclusion

It seems unlikely that doctors will start prescribing fewer medications or that our nation’s illicit drug problem will cease to exist. Therefore, it is imperative that research is conducted and regulations put in place to protect the public from the health hazards caused by drugs in drinking water. Of course, with these regulations will come the need for improved infrastructure to comply, which in turn will require funding for already financially strained water and wastewater utilities. There is no easy answer. But one thing is certain: drugs in drinking water is an urgent national problem that needs to be promptly addressed.

Associated Press

Tata & Howard announces corporate office expansion

Tata & Howard announces corporate office expansion

MARLBOROUGH, MA, July 28, 2015Tata & Howard, Inc. is pleased to announce the 4,645 square foot expansion of its corporate headquarters in Marlborough, MA. The expansion provides an additional 17 workspaces, six offices, a spacious modeling room, a dedicated printing and copying center, and a new conference room.

Tata & Howard’s 4,645 square foot corporate office expansion includes a new modeling room
Tata & Howard’s 4,645 square foot corporate office expansion includes a new modeling room

“We are very excited to announce the expansion of our corporate office, as it is a reflection of the continued growth and success our company has experienced since its inception,” said Jack O’Connell, P.E., LEED, Senior Vice President of Tata & Howard, Inc. Mr. O’Connell oversaw design and construction of the new space. “Using input from our employee-owners, our priorities for the new space included creative and collaborative workspaces, comfortable meeting and production areas, and work-life amenities such as adjustable standing desks, plentiful windows, and inviting colors.”

“Due to the extraordinary increase in our client base over the past two years, our number of employee-owners has grown by nearly 50%, and our geographic reach has extended to the national level,” added Karen Gracey, P.E., Vice President. “With the expansion of our corporate office, we are well equipped to accommodate the growth we are currently experiencing, and to provide resources to enhance our already tremendous talent base.”

“Our unprecedented growth is a direct result of exceptional client relationships and our solid reputation in the industry,” added Gracey.

Andrew Cohen from ACTWO in Wayland acted as Architect for the expansion, while Mike Walsh and Mark Pellard from Seaver Construction in Woburn acted as Project Manager and Superintendent, respectively. The expansion, which also included updating the existing 10,000 square foot space, was completed mid-July.

The 7 Most Interesting Dams in the United States

Grand Coulee Dam
Grand Coulee Dam

1. Grand Coulee Dam

The Grand Coulee Dam, a concrete gravity dam, is located on the Columbia River west of Spokane, Washington and is listed by the American Society of Civil Engineers as one of the seven civil engineering wonders of the United States. The dam’s reservoir, Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake, stretches 150 miles north and almost reaches the Canadian border. The dam was constructed to provide hydroelectric power and irrigation.

Even more enormous than the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Grand Coulee is an absolutely massive structure, and one of the largest ever constructed by mankind. The 550 foot tall dam contains over 12 million cubic yards of concrete, which is enough to build a highway all the way from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington, and stretches 5,223 feet — just 57 feet shy of a mile. The construction of the Grand Coulee dam took place between 1933 and 1942 and provided jobs to thousands of men during the Great Depression. The Grand Coulee provided the immense electrical power needed to manufacture aluminum for the production of World War II planes and ships, and, continuing in its war-like vein, it also powered the production of plutonium at a secret lab on nearby Hanford Site. Plutonium, of course, turned out to be the key ingredient of the atomic bomb – and the rest is history.

The dam is not without some controversy. 77 men lost their lives during the construction of the dam and its original two powerhouses, and another four perished during the construction of the third power plant constructed between 1967-1975, bringing the final death count to 81. Also, creation of the reservoir partially flooded the ancestral lands of Native Americans and forced the relocation of over 3,000 people, and environmentalists have condemned the dam for blocking the migration of salmon and steelhead to spawn.

Today, the Grand Coulee is used to irrigate about 670,000 acres of farmland used for growing grains, fruits, vegetables, and wine grapes, as well as livestock grazing.

Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam

2. Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam, located in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River on the border of Arizona and Nevada, is a massive concrete arch-gravity dam whose 600-foot base is as wide as the full length of two football fields. The giant concrete wedge stands 726 feet tall, or the height of a 60-story building, and holds back the immense power of the Colorado River. The Hoover Dam was constructed in order to generate electricity as well as provide irrigation and control flooding, and today generates about four billion kilowatts of electricity per year – enough to provide the power needs for 1.3 million people.

At the time of its construction between 1931 and 1935, the Hoover Dam was the most expensive engineering project in United States history at a cost of $49 million, which, adjusting for inflation, would be $700 million by today’s standards. The Hoover Dam created the enormous reservoir known as Lake Mead, which even today is the largest manmade reservoir in the U.S. at 110 miles long and 560 feet deep. In addition, the Hoover Dam and beautiful Lake Mead have created a bustling tourism community by providing plenty of outdoor recreation including boating, swimming, and fishing. Lake Mead also supplies municipal water for Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson, and provides storage during drought.

Building the Hoover Dam took enormous effort. Construction of the dam utilized 91.8 billion cubic feet of concrete to create a retaining wall that weighs about 6.6 million tons. In fact, the mass of concrete in the Hoover Dam would pave a road from San Francisco to New York City. In addition, the volume of water in Lake Mead, when filled to capacity, is enough to submerge the entire state of Connecticut in ten feet of water. Incredibly enough, although the dam was expected to take five years to construct, it was actually completed ahead of schedule. 96 people died during the construction of the Hoover Dam; however, contrary to the popular urban legend, none of the deceased are encased within the dam’s concrete.

Oroville Dam
Oroville Dam

3. Oroville Dam

Oroville Dam, located about 70 miles north of Sacramento at the three forks of the Feather River, is the tallest dam in the United States, standing over 770 feet tall. The dam is an earthfill dam that holds back Lake Oroville, a manmade reservoir containing 3.5 million acre-feet of water. Oroville Dam stretches three quarters of a mile at its base and almost 7,000 feet across at its top.

The most highly monitored dam in the world during construction, the Oroville Dam was built between 1961 and 1967, and was officially dedicated in 1968. Just seven short years later, in 1975, a significant earthquake struck a few miles southeast of Oroville, and the new dam was put to the test. To the credit of the engineers, the dam oscillated with the earthquake and did not suffer a solitary crack or leak.

The Oroville Dam, along with its reservoir, Lake Oroville, not only provides drinking water, water storage, and hydroelectric power, it also protects downstream residents from the flooding of the Feather River. Providing about 750,000 acre-feet of flood control storage, the Oroville Dam has minimized damage from floods that have occurred in every decade since the dam’s construction. It also provides a beautiful location for a plethora of recreational activities including boating, camping, and fishing.

Tragically, 34 men died during the construction of the Oroville Dam. Just two years after the dam’s completion, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) into law, drastically reducing the number of workplace accidents and casualties.

Redridge Steel Dam
Redridge Steel Dam

4. Redridge Steel Dam

Located across the Salmon Trout River in Redridge, Michigan, the Redridge Steel Dam is is a flat slab buttress dam constructed of steel. Steel is rarely used for construction of dams, which are typically earthenworks or masonry, and the Redridge Steel Dam is one of only three steel dams ever constructed in the United States. The other two are the Ashfork-Bainbridge Steel Dam, constructed in Arizona in 1898 to supply water for railway operations and still fully operational, and the Hauser Lake Dam, which was constructed in 1901 in Montana but failed less than a year later.

Timber Crib Dam Falls
Timber Crib Dam Falls

Prior to the construction of the Redridge Steel Dam, the Atlantic Mining Company built a timber crib dam across the Salmon Trout River in order to create a reservoir to supply water for mining operations. The reservoir created by the timber crib dam was insufficient, and so the Redridge Steel Dam was built; however, the original timber crib dam remained submerged in place upstream of the new dam. After operating for several decades, the Redridge Steel Dam fell into disrepair after mining operations ceased, and in 1941, the dam broke and caused a flood. The dam owners opened the spillways and cut holes in the steel dam so that it would no longer retain any water, and in this way the original timber dam was revealed — and along with it, breathtaking waterfalls.

With the threat of being labeled a “significant hazard” dam by the Michigan Department of Environmental looming, the timber dam was lowered 13 feet in 2004 in order to relieve pressure and make it safer. While a more permanent solution is still needed, both dams have been estimated to be safe for the foreseeable future, allowing visitors the ability to appreciate the lovely falls created by the old timber dam.

Roosevelt Dam
Roosevelt Dam

5. Roosevelt Dam

Constructed between the walls of a box canyon near the Salt River and Tonto Creek, the Roosevelt Dam was the first water project built under the 1902 Reclamation Act, and was the largest masonry dam in the world at that time. Italian stonecutters carved the stones used in the construction of the dam from the nearby cliffs, and when completed, the dam stood 280 feet tall and 184 feet wide at its base. The dam supplied water and electricity while also controlling the dangerous floods that had plagued the nearby Phoenix area.

Construction of the dam occurred between 1905 and 1911 while Arizona was still just a territory, and the total cost was $10 million. Supplying electricity to rural households, the Roosevelt Dam was a modern marvel. It would be ten years before the National Rural Electrification Act brought power to the rest of rural America, and so Phoenix quickly became a bright, modern city, and Arizona officially became a state only one year after the dam’s completion. The Roosevelt Dam was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1963 and, to this day, it adorns the state seal of Arizona.

Dworshak Dam
Dworshak Dam

6. Dworshak Dam

Located just outside the city of Orofino, Idaho on the North Fork of the Clearwater River, the Dworshak Dam is the tallest straight axis gravity dam in the Western Hemisphere and the third highest dam in the United States. Constructed between 1966 and 1973, the Dworshak Dam is primarily used for flood control and hydroelectric power. The dam has three power-generating unts and received authorization for three more in 1990; however, the authorizations were revoked amid political controversy and citizen opposition when it was found that a second dam would be needed to handle peak loads.

The reservoir created by the Dworshak Dam holds almost 3.5 million acre-feet of water and is 53 miles long. The dam stands 717 feet tall, generates 380,000 kilowatts of power, and contains more than twice the concrete than does Cheope’s Great Pyramid in El Giza, Egypt.

Perhaps more notable than its significant mass is the controversy that has surrounded the Dworshak Dam since its inception. In his travel guide Idaho for the Curious, Cort Conley writes, “There have always been more politicians than suitable damsites. Building the highest straight axis gravity dam in the Western Hemisphere, on a river with a mean flow of 5,000 cubic feet per second, at a cost of $312 million, in the name of flood-control, is the second-funniest joke in Idaho. The funniest joke is inside the visitor center: a government sign entreats, ‘…help protect this delicate environment for future generations.’ The North Fork of the Clearwater was an exceptional river with a preeminent run of steelhead trout, and the drainage contained thousands of elk and white-tail deer. The Army Corps of Engineers proceeded to destroy the river, habitat, and fish; then acquired 5,000 acres for elk management and spent $21 million to build the largest steelhead hatchery in the world, maintaining at a cost of $1 million dollars a year what nature had provided for nothing.”

New Cornelia Mine Tailings Dam
New Cornelia Mine Tailings Dam

7. New Cornelia Mine Tailings

OK, so the New Cornelia Mine Tailings is not really a dam per se, but it IS often cited as the largest dam structure in the country by its volume of 7.4 billion cubic feet. Located just south of Ajo, Arizona, the New Cornelia Mine was operational from 1912 until 1983, when it closed due to the low price of copper. Mine tailings are waste materials such as bits of rock, dirt, mud, and process effluent from the mining process. While the mine was operational, the tailings were heaped into an enormous pile in order to hold back future tailings, and therefore the tailings pile is actually considered a dam. Today, Phelps Dodge owns the mine. There has also been recent talk of mining the tailings, although nothing has yet been scheduled.

Do you agree with our list of the 7 most interesting dams in the United States or do you know of a dam that should be included? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!


The Criticality of Energy Efficiency for Water and Wastewater Utilities

electricity meterMunicipal water and wastewater services require electricity, and lots of it. Drinking water and wastewater systems in the United States account for 3-4% of our nation’s total energy usage and add over 45 million tons of greenhouse gases to our environment each year. High energy costs for water and wastewater utilities are straining municipal budgets and creating unsustainable operating costs, and with prices already on the rise due to increasing regulations and demand, passing energy costs on to consumers simply isn’t a viable option. Drinking water and wastewater treatment plants account for 30-40% of the total energy consumed by municipal governments, making them the single largest energy consumers in the municipal sector. Add to that the fact that energy currently accounts for an average of 40% of operational costs for drinking water systems and is expected to increase to 60% within the next 15 years, and it becomes clear that energy efficiency for water and wastewater utilities is no longer a choice – it’s a necessity.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Energy costs for water and wastewater utilities are indeed significant, but they also represent the largest controllable cost of providing water and wastewater services. Studies have estimated that 15-30% energy savings is readily achievable through cost-effective efficiency measures in water and wastewater plants, and that utilities can realize significant financial returns with a payback period from only a few months to about five years.

lightbulb water Very often, utilities can save substantially by increasing the efficiency of pumps and aeration equipment at water and wastewater treatment plants. In addition, operational changes such as proactively shifting energy usage away from peak demand times where electricity is most expensive, or generating electricity and heat from biogas, can greatly reduce energy usage. Water and wastewater utilities are not typically designed and operated with energy efficiency as a primary objective, as more pressing concerns such as regulatory requirements, capital expenditure, reliability, and securing funding typically take precedence. However, it is important not to overlook these systems when communities fund energy improvement projects, as significant energy and monetary savings can be realized through operational changes and capital improvement projects. And these savings make a big difference. Even a 10% energy reduction in our nation’s drinking water and wastewater systems would save about $400 million and five billion kWh annually, greatly reducing both the financial burden currently plaguing water and wastewater utilities as well as our impact on the environment.

But where to start? The first step towards making informed decisions that result in the highest return on investment (ROI) in the shortest amount of time is an energy audit. Since 2008, EPA has been actively working with water and wastewater utilities to help them become more efficient and to reduce operational costs, and one of the key steps in their process is an energy audit. A quality water and/or wastewater energy audit should focus on energy efficient equipment replacement, operational modifications, and process control that will lead to improved efficiency and cost savings with the shortest possible payback period, and includes processes such as conducting on-site observations, testing existing systems and equipment, monitoring power usage and costs, and developing strategies to limit demand charges.

Kachina, Arizona
Kachina, Arizona

As an example, Tata & Howard conducted an energy audit on the water production assets and distribution system of the Kachina Village Improvement District (KVID) in Arizona. During the course of the study, the well pumps and booster pumps were evaluated relative to their efficiency while the operational practices of the distribution system were reviewed. The results of the study indicated that the pump efficiencies ranged from 27% to 60%, and it was recommended that the KVID replace several low performing pumps. The cost of the upgrades was $136,000 and the project would be eligible for a $20,000 rebate from Arizona Public Service (APS). With the upgrades, KVID would save approximately $23,000 in annual power costs, resulting in a projected ten-year savings of $114,000 and a payback period of five years.

For new construction, it is imperative to choose a design firm with clear experience in designing energy efficient projects, as the design phase is the absolute best time to think about energy efficiency as well as renewable energy options. A plant that is designed with energy efficiency and renewable energy from the beginning has the potential to actually produce more energy than it uses.

Allocating the resources and time to conduct an energy audit and implement the required capital improvements and operational changes can produce significant benefits. Energy audits can pinpoint the most energy-consuming equipment, detect issues with aging equipment, and expose operational issues, as well as determine which upgrades would result in the best ROI. The result is a well-defined, defendable plan of action that will result in optimal energy savings.




Tata & Howard sponsors The Watershed Fund annual fundraiser

Watershed_fundTata & Howard sponsors The Watershed Fund annual fundraiser

Tata & Howard, Inc. is pleased to announce its bronze level sponsorship of the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) annual golf tournament to support The Watershed Fund. The annual fundraising event, open to RWA employees and their associates, is held at New Haven Country Club in Hamden, Connecticut.

The Watershed Fund recognizes that land use choices are important decisions confronting many towns and individuals across the region. Working in partnership with other entities, the Fund strives to enhance the environment and improve quality of life by protecting drinking water supplies and threatened watershed lands.

For 17 years, RWA’s employee golf tournament has been a major fundraising event and the main source of funding for The Watershed Fund’s Scholarship Program. The educational programs and scholarships supported by The Watershed Fund provide future decision makers with the tools to preserve and protect open space and drinking water supply resources. Since its inception, the program has provided 115 environmental studies students with more than $300,000 in scholarships, with another 18 students receiving over $40,000 in scholarships this year.

“Tata & Howard is honored to contribute to The Watershed Fund Scholarship Program,” said Stephen K. Rupar, P.E., Vice President and Manager of Tata & Howard’s Meriden, Connecticut office. “We are committed to investing in the education of our future environmental leaders, and we are confident they will make significant and innovative contributions to our nation’s environment, including drinking water.”

For additional information on The Watershed Fund, please visit www.thewatershedfund.org.


The Value of Hospital Water Audits

Hospitals guzzle water.

hospital water auditsConsider this: a typical American uses about 150 gallons of water per day, the average German uses about 50 gallons per day, and the average African uses just 5 gallons, while United States hospitals utilize 570 gallons of water per staffed bed per day – almost quadruple the already tremendous amount utilized by the average American. In fact, hospitals account for 7% of the total commercial and institutional water usage in the United States. Admittedly, hospitals require a significant volume of water to support critical functions such as sterlization, sanitation, and heating and cooling, but there are certainly areas in which improvements can be made. Many areas of the United States are currently plagued by severe drought, depleted supply, and increased demand, as well as water and sewer rates that are rising far faster than the rate of inflation, and while many hospitals have been quick to address their energy usage and to implement energy-efficient practices, few have considered water efficiency. However, that is about to change.

Saving water not only protects our most precious resource, it also provides an attractive return on investment (ROI) for most hospitals. But reducing water usage in hospitals isn’t as simple as turning off the faucet — it requires careful research and consideration of a variety of factors including cost and ease of implementation, rate of return, and staff support. Hospital water audits can help healthcare facilities determine which operational and capital measures to implement and in what order, and can pinpoint the measures that will provide the largest ROI and most significant environmental impact while being the least disruptive to hospital operations.

blue showerOn average, implementing water efficiency measures decreases operational costs by 11% and water usage by 15%, and results in greater patient and staff satisfaction. Also, by installing water-efficient equipment, hospitals can take advantage of utility rebates and financial incentives that, when combined with operational savings, often result in equipment upgrades easily paying for themselves. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Larger hospitals can take their water efficiency even further by collecting rainwater and condensate and utilizing it for non-potable functions such as irrigation and toilet flushing, like this state-of-the-art New Orleans hospital has done.

For smaller facilities that simply don’t have the capital expenditure needed for large-scale capital improvements, even inexpensive upgrades such as low-flow showerheads, reduced gallon-per-flush kits, and flow-control valves on sinks can add up to big savings. For example, Tata & Howard completed a water audit for the MetroWest Medical Center (MWMC) in Framingham, Massachusetts and estimated that the facility could save almost $30,000 per year after investing just $5,000 per year over a six-year period. And as an added bonus, savings from low-cost upgrades enable hospitals to fund future water saving measures.

With water becoming scarcer and more expensive, hospitals need to look to conservation and efficiency in order to remain profitable. Water audits provide the information, prioritization, and justification needed to implement a successful conservation and efficiency program, and typically pay for themselves in a very short time period. Hospitals that design water conservation strategies today will find themselves ahead of the curve and enjoying significant savings well into the future.

Online UST data management system goes into effect August 1, 2015

MassDEPThe Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has announced a new online data management system for Underground Storage Tank (UST) registrations and third-party inspections (TPIs). As of August 1, 2015, MassDEP will no longer accept paper UST forms FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289 and will instead require all registrations and inspections to be filed electronically.

In preparation for the new requirement, MassDEP will be offering a webinar on “Data Management System Training for UST Owners, Operators, and Third-Party Inspectors” beginning on July 15. In addition, they will be offering hands-on training sessions for UST system owners, operators, and staff responsible for preparing and/or submitting UST registration documents, TPI reports, and compliance certifications. These training sessions, which require advance registration, will be offered in Fall River, Holyoke, Worcester, and Danvers. For your convenience, the original MassDEP press release is copied below in its entirety.

If you have any questions or require assistance with TPIs or compliance certifications, please contact Jonathan O’Brien, LSP, LEP at 508-386-9338 or jobrien@tataandhoward.com.

Original letter from MassDEP:

Dear Class A, A/B and B Operators and Third-Party Inspectors:

Beginning in July, MassDEP is transitioning from the current paper based Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program registration and reporting forms (FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289), to a new online data management system that provides UST system owners and operators a more convenient, electronic way to update facility registration information and submit applicable reporting documents.

The new data management system will be available for user registration by mid-July.  MassDEP will notify all Class A, A/B and B operators and third-party inspectors when the data management system is ready for use.

UST Program Reporting Transition Schedule

  1. Effective July 31, 2015, MassDEP will no longer accept FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289 documents for purposes of compliance with UST registration and third-party inspection reporting requirements under 310 CMR 80.00.
  2. Effective August 1, 2015:
    1. All new and updated UST registration submittals shall be made electronically through MassDEP’s new online UST data management system.  Registration information may be submitted as a paper document, if accompanied by a hardship request.
    2. All third-party inspection results shall be reported electronically by third-party inspectors using the new Third-Party Inspection (TPI) Report provided through the new online data management system.  The third-party inspector will then electronically forward the TPI Report to the UST system owner or operator for signature and submittal to MassDEP.

Compliance with Third-Party Inspection Reporting Requirements
To provide UST system owners, operators and third-party inspectors time to register as users in the data management system and become familiar with the system and new Program requirements, TPI Reports due between August 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015 will be allowed up to October 31, 2015 to submit their required TPI Report using the new online data management system.

All TPI Reports for this period received after October 31, 2015 may be subject to enforcement.

Compliance Certification Submittals
The Compliance Certification submittal requirement goes into effect November 1, 2015. MassDEP will issue 90-Day Reminder notifications in July to UST system owners and operators with  Compliance Certifications due in November 2015.

Data Management System Training for UST Owners, Operators, and Third-Party Inspectors

  1. Third-Party Inspector Online Webinar Training
    Data management system overview:
  • Registering as a user
  • Data management system navigation
  • Initiating a TPI and “sharing” a TPI Report with a UST system owner or operator.

Webinar Training Dates
No pre-registration is required to participate. Further information on webinar call-in number and conferencing service will be emailed to all TPIs prior to date of scheduled training and posted on MassDEP’s UST webpage.

  • July 15, 1 – 3pm
  • July 22, 1 – 3pm
  • July 30, 1 – 3pm
  • Aug 27, 1 – 3pm
  1. UST System Owners and Operators Training

This is “hands on” training for UST systems owners, operators and staff responsible for preparing and/or submitting UST registration documents, TPI Reports and Compliance Certifications.

Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis (system owners and operators with most imminent submittal due dates will receive priority). Additional sessions will be added as demand requires.

To reserve space, please submit your name, company, and preferred date and session to: dep.ust@state.ma.us.

Date July 17, 2015 July 21, 2015 July 27, 2015 July 28, 2015
Facility Bristol CC Holyoke CC Worcester State University North Shore CC
City/Town Fall River, MA Holyoke, MA Worcester, MA Danvers, MA
Room Capacity 28 23 25 18
Session #1 10am – Noon 10am – Noon 10am – Noon 10am – Noon
Session #2 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm

Data Management System Training Materials on MassDEP’s Webpage
The following materials will be posted on MassDEP’s UST webpage (https://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/toxics/ust/) at the time the UST Data Management System goes “live”.

  1. Data Management System User Guide
  2. “What Do You Want To Do” Guide
  3. Required Data Elements of Data Management System
  4. Audio Power Point Presentations
  5. DEP Hotline #

If you have any questions concerning the introduction of the new UST online Data Management System, please email the Program at: dep.ust@state.ma.us, or call the MassDEP UST Program Hotline at (617) 556-1035 Ext. 2.

Tom DeNormandie, Branch Chief
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Underground Storage Tank/Stage I & II Vapor Recovery Programs
One Winter Street – 7th floor
Boston, MA  02108
Phone: 617-292-5763
Fax: 617-556-1063